National Book Award Shortlist Announced: Will This Be Steve Sheinkin’s Year?

| by Rocco Staino |

The National Book Foundation has released the shortlist for the 2015 National Book Award. The finalists this year in the category of Young People’s Literature are:

Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Laura Ruby, Bone Gap, published by Balzer + Bray, a division of HarperCollins Children’s Books

Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War, published by Roaring Brook Press

Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Noelle Stevenson, Nimona, published by HarperTeen/HarperCollins Children’s Books

The folks at HarperCollins must be ecstatic to have three books on the list, this year. Among the three is Challenger Deep a novel that deals with mental illness. The author, Neal Shusterman, has said the main character is based on his own son. While Little Brown debut novelist Ali Benjamin garnered a place on the list with her book The Thing About Jellyfish, a book that mixes scientific information with a story about coping with death. The book happened to be reviewed in this past Sunday’s New York Times Book Review.   

The spotlight is, however, on Steve Sheinkin. He received his third nod in four years, for the National Book Award. This year he was named to the shortlist list for Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Roaring Brook Press, 2015). This follows being a finalist in 2012 for BOMB: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon. In addition, it was awarded a Newbery Honor, won the Sibert Medal, and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Again in 2014, Sheinken was a finalist for The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, which was the winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for nonfiction. KidLit TV caught up with Sheinkin at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival and asked him about his popularity with the award judges over the last few years.

Steve Sheinkin | Princeton Book Festival

The kid lit community will have to wait until Wednesday, November 18 when the winners will be announced at the 66th National Book Awards Benefit Dinner and Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, which will be streamed live on the Foundation’s website, Winners receive $10,000 and a bronze statue; finalists receive $1,000 and a bronze medal. On November 17, the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference will be held at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Jacqueline Woodson, the 2014 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature, will host the event, where invited students will have the opportunity to interview the five finalists for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature.

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